CMIC10 an outstanding success

Nearly 550 delegates descended on the Jupiters Gold Coast, from 27 to 30 October for CMIC 10. There were delegates from all over Australia (400 from the eastern seaboard), along with guests from New Zealand, the US, the UK and Malaysia.
The conference programme featured industry, government and community leaders who discussed the challenges and issues facing the construction materials industry as the economy enters another boom phase.
The conference was well supported by key sponsors, including Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo/CJD Equipment.

CMIC 10 informally began on Tuesday, 26 October, as 36 delegates teed off for the IQA Golf Challenge at Robina Woods golf course. John Brown (Bosfa) and Trenton Clark (Valesco) won the Perpetual Team Trophy and Bill Cameron (Lincom) and David Lumsden (Labeco) were the individual winners.

The following day, Wednesday, 27 October, 65 delegates visited Hanson?s Wolffdene quarry and 15 went to Wyaralong dam. The Wolffdene quarry produces up to two million tonnes of aggregate per year. The site covers 4.94km2, of which 4.11km2 is being extracted. The whole site processes predominantly meta greywacke and manufactures rock products for road base at an output of 300 tonnes per hour (tph) and concrete aggregates, including a manufactured sand on a minus 5mm closed circuit.

The Wyaralong dam project, 14km northwest of Beaudesert, started in 2008 with the goal of excavating over 280,000m2 of rock to prepare the foundations for the 500m long dam wall. Wagners Quarries has operated the on-site quarry and extracted the sandstone aggregate. As of June 2010, 78,000m3 of rock had been extracted from a 16,000m2  surface area. When completed in 2011, the dam will supply an extra 21 billion litres of water annually for the population in the South East Queensland Water Grid and hold 103,000 megalitres of water.

That evening, Volvo/CJD Equipment hosted the welcome reception. Delegates, wearing T-shirts and board shorts for the pool party-themed night, were welcomed by models in swimsuits and handed complimentary beach towels. The warm weather added to a perfect evening as delegates settled in for some intellectually challenging days ahead. Stuart Scott, the operations manager from Boral, in Malvern, Victoria, received the Volvo Travel Award for making the most positive environmental contribution in the workplace.

CMIC 10 was opened on Thursday, 28 October by Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley AO. Reflecting on South East Queensland?s population growth, the Governor forecast that the region would grow from 2.8 million now to 4.4 million by 2031. This will raise demand for construction materials throughout Queensland, but also pose skills and labour challenges and tighter environmental and operational regulations for the industry. She praised the industry for looking ahead to the future and concluded that a sustainable construction materials industry was integral to a successful, sustainable national economy.

Day one of the programme covered economics, market forecasts, recruitment, industrial relations, OHS and social development. The keynote speaker was Mark Selway, chief executive of Boral Construction Materials, who informed delegates of Boral?s performance in the Australian, US and Asian markets. He identified what he believed were the ?overarching policy issues? that were hindering the industry: conflicting State and Federal Government regulations affecting the development, security and cost-efficiency of extractive resources; the constraints of urban management on the industry?s existing and future resource position; the inequity of a potential carbon tax on the domestic market; and competition guidelines that limit the scale and cost-efficiency of the construction sector.

He was optimistic that the move to a low carbon economy would enable the construction materials industry to deliver more efficient products and materials. To capitalise on this potential, Mark added that Boral is rationalising its operations from seven to five divisions and identified three tiers for future success: operational excellence, sales and marketing excellence and ambition for new product development and innovation.

KPMG partner Bernard Salt briefed delegates on the demographic outlook for the construction materials sector for the next 10 years. He forecast that the eastern seaboard will continue to enjoy high population growth which will demand more urban infrastructure. He advised construction materials businesses to anticipate ?surge points? in the demographic profile, especially as the life expectancy of Australians has reached a median age of 82 and effectively created new market segments. Young people are entering into relationships after the age of 30 and although Australians are retiring from full time work at an average age of 58, they are seeking to work to flexible, part time arrangements while enjoying a ?second adolescence?.
Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), discussed the challenges for business in the current economic climate. He warned that Australia?s two-speed economy is reliant on the fragile global economy and there are fundamental challenges ahead such as skills shortages, the diminished ability of the private sector to obtain credit on reasonable terms from financial institutions, and key infrastructure reforms.
Peter Anderson urged businesses to be proactive on workforce issues and industrial relations and to express more support for their industry associations. He complimented the CCAA and IQA for their success in exempting the construction materials industry from the Mineral Resources Rent Tax; this sent a significant message to industry about the value of industry associations. On OHS, Peter said it was critical that business had an enabling framework that promoted health and safety, instead of penalising businesses. He added the ACCI had been supportive of the national OHS harmonisation process and criticised the NSW Government?s attempts to modify it. Peter also announced that he would sit on the Federal Government?s Climate Change Committee but would strenuously argue the business perspective, which does not support a carbon tax.
Craig Sneesby, of Talent2, provided delegates with a snapshot of the employment landscape and what organisations can do to retain employees. Katie Dean, of ANZ Bank?s macro business division and Shannan Calabro, of AMP Capital Investors, spoke respectively about the future economic environment and investment outlook, while Nigel Hartcher, of Macro Monitor, provided a forecast of the construction market.

Futurist Dr Keith Suter discussed how businesses can capitalise on changing political, social and economic environments. He declared that the world is, after the agricultural and industrial revolutions, now undergoing the ?knowledge revolution?. This new phase has been characterised by leaps in technology, advancements in life sciences and increased health and life expectancy in the last 100 years. International and global factors have also contributed to this phase of human development. Despite the ?war on terror?, Keith explained that the world is a safer place because societies expect major reforms from their governments and where previously countries went to war for economic expansion, they now realise they can expand their influence through international trade. ?Businesses,? he said, ?are the new peacekeepers?. He declared that the 21st century will be known as the ?century of the environment? because the mobilisation to rebuild the environment will generate profits for organisations that embrace renewable technologies and sustainable practices.
The plenary sessions on day one concluded with a session on the Fair Work Act. Anthony Powter, of Australian Industry Group, and Ben Swan, of the Australian Workers Union, commented on the impact of the new IR laws on businesses and workers. Drew Wagner, of Safe Work Australia, summarised the key provisions of the model Work Health and Safety Act, which is set to be adopted by all States and Territories by the end of 2011.

Komatsu Australia impressed delegates with its annual dinner on the evening of Thursday, 28 October. Delegates were transported to tourist theme park Dreamworld, where some scaled the death-defying heights of the Claw scream machine or the Cyclone roller coaster, before settling down for the dinner. It was not long before participants were undulating and gyrating with a troupe of Brazilian-style Carnaval dancers on the dance floor!
Day two of CMIC commenced on Friday, 29 October. The programme comprised concurrent sessions on quarrying and cement topics as well as some common sessions.
In the first of the quarrying-related sessions, Martin Isles, health and safety director of the British Mineral Products Association and President of the Institute of Quarrying UK, and Professor Jim Joy, director of the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, spoke about voluntary best practice guidelines on health and safety features for new and re-engineered mobile plant in the UK (Safer by Design) and Australia (Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table). Martin spoke in greater depth about health and safety performance in the British mineral products industry in the plenary session after lunch.
Dr Nick Fleming, of Sinclair Knight Merz, discussed how businesses can successfully incorporate sustainability strategies and practices into their daily operations without affecting their bottom line. He contended that sustainability is about being ?fit for the future? and embracing new opportunities for growth.
Prior to lunch, Jan Jarratt, Parliamentary Secretary to Queensland?s Minister for Employment and Economic Development, provided an overview of Queensland?s economy. Ms Jarratt said the Queensland Government had responded strongly to difficult economic times with ?record building programmes and job-generating initiatives? and that as a result the State?s economy was steadily improving.
She predicted that demand from Asia for Queensland?s mineral products would benefit the construction materials industry and added that infrastructure is a key Government priority. Its $134 billion commitment to the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan caters for fast annual population growth that will benefit the construction materials industry.
Ms Jarratt also briefly addressed the State Planning Policy for the protection of extractive resources, particularly in South East Queensland for the quarrying sector. She explained that this policy protects strategically important resources from incompatible developments and that the Government has identified 100 Key Resource Areas (KRAs) that may be impacted by expanding urban centres. The KRAs separate resources and transport routes from new developments and protect future extractive industry activities.

The plenary session after lunch focused on fascinating experiences in South East Asia, with Major General Dave Chalmers, of the Australian Defence Force, and Ron Delaney, of Malaysia?s Hap Seng Group, providing some unique perspectives.
Major General Chalmers headed the Australian recovery taskforce in Aceh, the Indonesian province devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami in December 2004. Under his command, the taskforce rescued 2500 displaced flood victims, assisted with 70 aero-medical evacuations, administered 3700 medical treatments, distributed 1200 tonnes of supplies and produced 4.7 billion tonnes of fresh water. He emphasised that speed was essential in the recovery effort and his emphasis on ?command and control? resonated with his audience.
Ron Delaney emphasised that in Malaysia, corporate social responsibility and quarrying very much go in hand. As manager of Hap Seng?s Kukusan Quarry, located in Tawau, Sabah, he had to accommodate a vast population living on the quarry boundary. Ron realised early on that the Malaysian Government would not grant buffer zones for the quarry which would have to be redesigned to a ?whole of life? plan to cater to the needs of its community. The quarry was redesigned for a life expectancy of 15 years with ramped up outputs of 180,000 tonnes per year. Hap Seng also introduced environmental measures to reduce noise and dust emissions, built a 1.5km haul road, established housing for local workers, promoted forestry conservation initiatives, donated personal computers to the local school and funded scholarships for disadvantaged children. As Ron explained, the locals consider it important that the quarry supports the community beyond just the supply of aggregate. He suggested this is the sort of corporate social responsibility model that Australian quarry managers should take note of, for it also exists in other parts of Asia, and there is every chance that an Australian quarry manager today may one day manage a quarry operation abroad.

Day two of CMIC concluded with the second round of concurrent plenary sessions. The quarrying-related session opened with a presentation by Warwick Willmott, of the Queensland division of the Geological Society of Australia, about the ?geological backbone? of the Gold Coast and its quarrying industry. He was followed by Travis Potts, a geologist with Boral, who presented a case study of the Redlynch Quarry in Cairns.

Travis explained how the geology of the Redlynch site restricts the potential pit development reserves within the steep mountain range and poses extremely costly technical conditions that influence the overall wall slope and extraction methodology. This case study showed how development planning and delivery requires the balancing of constraints that often compete and contradict each other.

Similar themes were also raised by Tegan Smith, of Groundwork Plus. She began her presentation with an entertaining anecdote about the difficulties Noah would encounter from bureaucratic agencies if he tried to build the Ark today! Her story demonstrated how cumulative legislation can cause complexity and how extractive industry developments can trigger multiple permit issues.

The black tie Caterpillar Dinner was held at Jupiters on the evening of Friday, 29 October. Aside from Caterpillar?s own award which recognises an individual?s application of best practice in an extractive industries operation ? presented to Matthew Wright of Boral for his work at the Emu Plains Quarry – the dinner also announced other industry and IQA sponsored awards.

Danny Karreman, of Karreman Quarries, received the Rocktec Innovation Award for excellence from an IQA member, while Jim Hankins of Rivergum Industries received the Atlas Copco Award for his technical paper on the Canberra Sand & Gravel operation at Bungendore Quarry.

The Bradken Hard Hat Award was presented to Hanson?s Byford Quarry for its improvements in OHS management. Ken Andrews of Rio Tinto was awarded the international Caernarvon Award, which is presented by the Institute of Quarrying UK, for his presentations to IQA members about high pressure fluid awareness.

The IQA Service Award was presented to Peter Duffy (South Australia) and Mike Cooper (Queensland) for their outstanding service to the IQA and the industry, while Fred Reid and Dennis Staley (both of Queensland) received Honorary Fellowships of the Institute.

The final day of the conference ? Saturday, 30 October ? marked a ?seachange?, as delegates boarded the Straddie Xpress for a cruise up Runaway Bay before convening in the sunshine at McLaren?s Landing, South Stradbroke Island. Futurist Wendy Sarkissian provided advice about how the construction materials industry could benefit from spending time on the foundations of community engagement.

The plenary sessions formally closed with a short presentation by Scott Harris about the Beacon Foundation, the non-profit organisation that works in 118 secondary schools across Australia and which since 1995 has assisted over 55,000 students of low socio-economic status in crossing from the school yard to the workplace. To round off this session, Greg Goodsir, chairman of the Australian Institute of Quarrying
Education Foundation (AIQEF), presented the 2010 Alex Northover Award (which recognises the best prepared portfolio of work by a student for accreditation in extractive industries training) to Dru Oxley, of Fulton Hogan?s Tynong Quarry in Victoria.

Delegates broke for lunch near the pier at McLaren?s Landing and were entertained by comedian Anh Do. He also assisted with the Maxam auction, which offered delegates 19 lots of goods, including a signed Queensland Bulls cricket bat, a Greg Norman-signed golf ball and a helicopter joy ride, as well as Maxam?s usual offerings of blasting equipment and even a single tanker load (27 tonnes) of bulk cement! Maxam raised $39,930 from the auction for the AIQEF.

With the conference complete, delegates made the return cruise back to the Gold Coast, where they said their goodbyes.
CMIC 10 ? the third of the IQA and CCAA?s joint Construction Materials Industry Conferences since 2006 ? was an outstanding success. It offered delegates five days of insightful and stimulating learning opportunities, enjoyable socialising and networking events, exposure to a sunny, warm climate and some spectacular sights and sounds. The IQA?s next annual conference will be at the Crowne Plaza, in NSW?s Hunter Valley, from 12 to 15 October, 2011.

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